Revelation 3:20 (NAS) "Behold, I stand at the door and knock..."This gripping image has been used in evangelism for decades. Jesus is pictured outside of the door of the unregenerate heart, knocking through the conviction of the Gospel message, longing to come in for intimate communion.
The salvation process this picture has come to represent is real enough. Christ is over and again described as "in" the believers life, and before Salvation this is not the case. The only problem here is that the particular image of Jesus standing at a door knocking is being used out of context.
In Rev 3:20, which we will read at length in a moment, the context is one of reproof of a self-satisfied church. Jesus is OUTSIDE the church, knocking to get in to a luke-warm congregation that doesn't even seem to notice that He has left. The rebuke is scathing.
That this mental picture has shifted from the original context of reproof to now represent the message of reconciliation for lost souls is no cause for alarm in itself--as the popular use does illustrate an essential Biblical dynamic. The problem with shifting idioms from their original context to new ones--even if the new use represents a truth--is that we might then miss the original point. But if we can grasp the original meaning as well as the popular one, then no harm done.
Here is the verse in its original setting. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Check to see if you qualify, and here goes:
Rev 3:15-20 (Wey) " I know your doings--you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot! Accordingly, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, before long I will vomit you out of My mouth. You say, 'I am rich, and have wealth stored up, and I stand in need of nothing', and you do not know that if there is a wretched creature it is YOU--pitiable, poor, blind, naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy of Me gold refined in the fire that you may become rich, and white robes to put on, so as to hide your shameful nakedness, and eye-salve to anoint your eyes with, so that you may be able to see. All whom I love, I rebuke and chastise; therefore be earnest and repent. I am now standing at the door and am knocking. If any one listens to My voice and opens the door, I will go in to be with him and will feast with him, and he shall feast with Me."